ARLINGTON, Va- Students, engineers, entrepreneurs, government officials, astronauts andspace enthusiasts gathered at the National Space Society's annual InternationalSpace Development Conference (ISDC) to review, plan, and predict the future ofour relations with the universe. One ofthese individuals was ex-congressman Robert Walker (R - Penn) who toldenthusiasts "Fulfilling human destiny in space will be both difficult and dangerous." While all the conference attendees desire tocontinue space exploration whether it be throughPresident Bush's Aldridge Commission or the cutting-edge technology of theprivate sector, the average age of a typical aerospace engineer is already 53years. Clearly, a new, young, diverselyfocused and able-minded workforce is needed to bring these dreams tofruition. The Students for theExploration and Development of Space (SEDS) represent the most passionate andresolute of this fresh workforce.
SEDS members will be the future of the space industry. Our members maintain a strong alumni network,assist in the development of high-profile space technology and are expandingour contacts across the world. Webelieve that there is enough room in space for everyone who desires to become apart of this magnificent aspiration and discover the new frontier of thetwenty-first century.
The ISDC provided a springboard to the action students willtake to fulfill this principal space vision. SEDS members were able to attend the inspirational opening presentationby President of Scaled Composites and SpaceShipOne Designer Burt Rutan, aluncheon with Elon Musk, the Founder and President of Space ExplorationTechnologies, a private conference with X-PRIZE Founder Dr. Peter Diamandis andeven a Star Wars viewing with Astronaut Buzz Aldrin. While attending special conferences rangingfrom Law and Policy to Lunar Science to Planetary Defense, SEDS members learnedthe broad scope of issues affecting the modern industry.
Members of SEDS-USA also held their own General Body Meetingto discuss the events of the past year, develop new goals and plan the futureof the organization. The 25 members inattendance represented the Universityof Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Texas A&MUniversity, GeorgeWashington University,University of Washington,University of Hawaii,University of North Carolina and Purdue University. Meeting SEDS members from other chaptersoccurs only a few times each year. However, the result of these meetings islike a supernova of student excitement! As an organization, SEDS hopes to holdfurther student gatherings at events throughout the year not only to meet ourown members, but also to mix with the space community as a whole. SEDSencourages everyone to attend our National Conference held at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign thisNovember. (www.space2005.org).
The National Space Society has been very influential inmotivating more students to become involved in space exploration. By connectingNSS members and the student body of SEDS, we are strengthening a bridge acrossthe generations of space pioneers. The strength of this bridge will be key to the success of our future endeavors in space. Byproviding both a national and international network, students today will be onthe forefront of taking Earth to the outer limits of the universe. The NSS has been a great influence on SEDSover the past year, culminating in our presence at the ISDC. We thank theNational Space Society for this opportunity and look forward to continuing ourclose collaboration over the coming years.
Elizabeth Bozek isa sophomore aerospace engineering student at the University of Illinoisat Urbana-Champaign. Her favorite space-relatedactivity was watching and volunteering at the first official launch ofSpaceShipOne for the Ansari X-PRIZE last September.